Kayak Canoe Alabama

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bay Minette Creek 6 mi.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Today was a glorious day to close out a very productive month on the water. While coming home across the bayway, the USS Alabama flags were still as well as Mobile Bay. The water level was pretty low, so rather than come back and fight the shallow water, I decided to try Bay Minette Creek. At 4:30 PM, it was still 68 degrees and the water was like glass. The tide was slowly rising, so at the upper end of the creek, there was very little movement.

I felt pretty good following a rest day after the Wakulla race. So, with the warm sun shining and my spirits lifted high, I took off downriver through the s-turns at a strong pace. The water was so calm and undisturbed, there was still the same dust-like scum on the surface that had probably been accumulating since the night before. My mile splits on the way down were 9:46, 9:35 and 9:23.

I did not see anyone out, either on shore or in their boat, so I had the whole river to myself. It felt great to paddle truly solo, concentrating solely on technique, breathing and mental focus. My splits on the return were 9:22, 8:58 and 9:45 for a six-mile total of 56:52 at 6.3 mph. This was close to my course PR, which has me phsyched for the spring racing season.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Wakulla River Race, St Marks, FL

Sunday, January 29, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

I just cannot stay away from a good race and the FCPA stages well run races with very tough competition. So, after last week's misunderstanding long forgotten, I loaded up the SUV and took off Saturday afternoon for the Wakulla. I rolled into St Marks around 7:30 PM and parked by the main intersection, walked across the street for some seafood and beer.

After I got my fill and traded stories with a couple of locals, I went a mile further to the San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park, parked under a palm tree and stretched out in the back of the 4Runner. When it was light enough in the morning, I noticed a couple of other vehicles with boats on top had come in during the night as well.

The morning weather was not nearly as nice as last week. The temperature was fine at 63 degrees, but there was a strong southerly wind blowing in some sporadic rain, while the tide was just past bottoming out and starting to rise again. After some last minute instructions, about 25 boats, half racing canoes and half kayaks tried to avoid the low muddy shoreline and lined up for the start.

After we made the right turn from the St Marks to Wakulla River, I made a tactical error. There were alot of boats all starting out at pretty much the same pace, so I got boxed in a little close to the west shoreline where the water was shallow and which slowed me down. It took me probably a half mile before I could get away from it and into deeper water where I could keep up and try to catch up with some of the frontrunners. At the Hwy 98 bridge at the 3-mile mark, I caught up and passed one canoe and was hot on the tail of a kayaker. There were only about two others within sight while maybe five more were further ahead.

We worked hard trying to find the best combination of deeper water, but into more current versus shallow shoreline water with less current. The canoes tended to opt for the shallows while the kayaks stayed out in the deeper water. It wasn't until I got almost to the second bridge turnaround that I could see who was in front and by how much. The two clear frontrunners had a big lead on the next group, who were not too far in front of me and the two others in my group.

My splits on the way upriver were10:02, 10:38, 10:54, 11:29, 10:54, 11:41 and 10:25 including some on the return. About four boats had just made the turn when I was about 50 meters away, so I had a glimmer of hope I might keep them in sight once I made the turn. On the way downriver, I was able to make up a little distance and caught up with the two near me and we stayed right together for the rest of the race. When we got back into the wider, but shallower water, we were paddling straight into a stiff headwind. The canoe headed for the inside turns which were shallower, while I went wider, looking for deeper water with a little more downriver current. In the end, it did not make much difference as the three of us were still very close together.

In the last mile, we caught up to another kayak and canoe and the three of us blew right on by, as all five paddlers made the final turn and sprint to the finish line. I was lucky to have a little more left in the tank and finished in front of the group. What was more gratifying was mine was the only touring boat paddling against much faster and lighter hulls. My splits on the return were 8:32, 9:08, 9:36, 10:43, 11:10 and the last 0.83 miles in 9:21 for a total race time of 2:14:40 at5.7 mph over the 12.83 mile course. With the better conditions last week, I finished six minutes faster, but you just have to deal with what you have at racetime.

So, I was very happy with how the race turned out and my finish among all of the racing hulls. I will post the complete results here as soon as I get them. We were lucky to finish when we did, as the rain started up again right after we loaded up and took off.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Apalachee River to Tensaw River 2006 V

Thursday, January 26, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Tonight was even better, with the wind slightly reduced, the tide not as strong and my cold congestion not affecting me as much. I put in a little earlier at 4:15 PM, with a temperature of 60 degrees, low water level, but rising and a 5-10 knot northwesterly breeze. I was feeling pretty good and got off to a good start into the current heading down Pass Picada, reaching the Apalachee turn in 8:33 and back in 6:30, and heading on to the Causeway at 7.2 mph. The water was really roiling around in front of the culverts, so I carefully passed by the Causeway and continued aggressively out into the lower Chacaloochee Bay.

For my three splits heading from east to west, I went 8:21, 9:01 and 11:01, most of the last mile between the Interstate bridges and into the rising current. I stopped briefly at the Tensaw River for a drink, noticing the sunset barely visible at the horizon, below mostly cloudy skies. On the return, I cranked out splits of 8:50, 11:03 and finishing in a total of 59:20 at 6.1 mph.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Apalachee River to Tensaw River 2006 IV

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

It was good to get back on the familiar course again, although it turned out to be somewhat windy. At least the temperature was 64 degrees, under sunny skies at 4:30 PM, with a strong northwesterly breeze kicking up a little chop. The water level was fairly high and still rising, as I started off down Pass Picada. I tucked in along the north shoreline, where the water was a little calmer, but I was still heading into the current.

The turn at the Apalachee was in 9:00, and back in 6:30 as I headed out into the open waters of Chacaloochee Bay. The water along the Causeway by the culverts was very choppy and confused. Once back in normal bay waters, the chop was regular again, but quartering and not easy to gain much speed in, until I got to the Interstate bridges and out of the wind again. My mile splits from the Apalachee to the Tensaw were 8:29, 9:30 and 11:15, as I got back into the rising tide again from the Tensaw side of the culverts.

The sun was just setting behind the battleship, as I stopped for a drink at the Tensaw turn. On the way back, I was able to take advantage of the current for the first mile, clocking 8:50, before hitting a 10:54 wall, back on the east side of the culvert and finished at 5.3 mph at the end, to come in with a total time of 1:00:28, at 5.9 mph over the 6 mile course. It was not great, but the wind and trying to get rid of a nagging cold were my excuses for the slower time.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Wakulla River, St Marks, FL

Sunday, January 22, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Roland and I arrived bright and early at the San Marco Park, unfortunately for us, one week too early. As it turned out, by not being members of the FCPA, we were not on the current email distribution, to know the race director moved the race date to January 29. So, it was up to us to make the best out of a deflated situation.

The weather was beautiful, with partly cloudy skies, no wind at 8:30 AM, with a slightly falling tide. We knew where the start line was and decided to stage our own two-man event on the official course.

Roland started out strong, so I jumped in behind him over the first couple of miles, following the same route we took in yesterday's warmup. At this point, I pulled ahead and stayed there the rest of the way upriver. We passed the Hwy 98 bridge at about 3 miles, where there was a canoe rental business, and continued to pass many wooded areas, full of summer houses lining the shores. The river started to narrow here and continued to narrow significantly over the next 3.3 miles, to the Highway 365 bridge and turnaround.

We saw many anhinga, cormorant, great blue heron and white egret fishing along the way. There were several small islands in the center of the river where we had to decide which way was best to paddle. It was hard to tell at times where the best course was, and it would have been helpful to follow an experienced racer, to make sure we were on the most efficient course.

My mile splits on the first half of the course were: 10:18, 10:34, 10:31, 10:45, 10:56, 11:21 and 10:25 which incorporated the turn and some back downriver. At the turnaround, the water was very shallow and difficult to find any narrow channel to even get to the bridge.

On the return, we had splits of 8:53, 9:08, 9:24, 9:47, 10:11 and a partial 6:41 over the last 0.69 miles to the finish line. Unfortunately, during the last two miles, we ran into a pretty good headwind, which slowed us down at the end, so our total course time came in at 2:08:59, at 5.9 mph over the 12.69 mile course.

So, now after experiencing the Wakulla race course without a race, it will be up to me to come up with an appealing argument, to convince Linda I need to come back next weekend for the real deal. Time will tell how convincing I am.

Wakulla River, St Marks, FL

Saturday, January 21, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Linda and I drove over to the Wakulla Springs State Park today for a relaxing weekend and a little racing. Once on I-10, go to exit 196 in Tallahassee and go south on Hwy 263 for about 10 miles, turn left on Hwy 61 and left on Hwy 267 to the entrance of the park. The lodge is an old mansion overlooking the magnificent springs and is fantastic. They have great old-style rooms and excellent food in their dining room. We took the one hour safari boat ride around the springs and were amazed at the abundance and variety of birds, gators, turtles and snakes. It was like a zoo where the animals all posed for photos as our boat paused right next to them.

Later in the afternoon, Roland and I set off for St Marks and the San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park, which dates back to 1528 when found by Spanish explorers. Once we found it, we put in and set off on a little warmup exploratory paddle to get ready for the race the next morning. We turned up the Wakulla River, past the yacht club and towards the Hwy 98 bridge. We turned around after paddling two miles and returned in a total time of 41:58 at 5.7 mph over the 4 mile course.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Bayous Tallapoosa & Jessamine loop

Sunday, January 15, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Saturday's wind died down and left us with very calm water for a beautiful, but very different paddle for the fortunate five who came out this morning. The temperature was around 48-55 degrees throughout the day, with a mostly overcast sky. Our group gathered at the Stagecoach Inn in Stockton, AL and drove the short distance north to Baldwin County's Rice Creek Landing.

When we arrived, the expected low water level was even lower than we had imagined, with barely enough water trickling by to let us drag along the bottom, until we got about 20 meters away. Rice Creek was very eery, as it seemed like we were almost below ground, seeing cypress trees and knees uncovered, exposing huge trunks usually underwater. There was even a sand bar exposed out at the mouth of Rice Creek, which we dragged across for the first time.

We turned north up Briar Lake, passing several fish and hunting camps, some on land, some floating and some sitting on the exposed muddy shoreline. A couple of us spotted a buck squatted on the shore, his head laying off to the side, appearing to be dead. As we approached to get a closer look, he bolted up and away through the palmetto. We continued paddling north on the much wider Tensaw Lake, until we reached the mouth of Bayou Tallapoosa. It is located only about 1/2 mile south of the two covered platforms hidden behind Dead Lake Island.

The water level was low into Tallapoosa and we didn't figure we would get very far. So, we decided to go in and come back out to the platforms for lunch. To our surprise, and although we had to do alot of weaving and manuevering around, we never came upon a fall we could not paddle over or around. There were some tight spots, but none requiring us to exit our boats.

So, we continued slowly up Tallapoosa the whole distance of about three miles until we reached the Tensaw River on the other side. Along the way, we saw many signs of deer, beaver, hogs and even watched a pair of otters scamper playfully along the bank and down into the water. At the Tensaw River, we decided to stop for lunch at a large 3-story camp, sitting around their empty fire pit.

We continued paddling down Tensaw River to make the loop, rather than retrace our paddle on Tallapoosa. So, off we went downstream with about a 1.5 mph push, making good time at about 6 mph for the next four miles. We passed the entrance to Middle River and the primitive public campground on the way to Bottle Creek. After a short distance down Bottle, we turned east into Bayou Jessamine. It was similarly very low and slow going as we dodged around all of the many exposed falls. We finally came across our one and only log of the whole trip, we had to stop and drag our boats over. It was about halfway down to the Jug Lake split, which we decided to pass this time, since we were about 12 miles into the paddle so far.

The rest of the way was uneventful out Jessamine, back up Tensaw along Larry Island, and through the cut to Briar Lake and Rice Creek. Our total trip was 15 miles, taking about 4 1/2 hours paddling time. All of us were sufficiently worn out and glad we had a chance to see the delta from a different "down under" perspective.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Bay Minette Creek 10 mi.

Saturday, January 14, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

A cold front blew in last night, leaving this morning with clear sunny skies, but cool temps. Roland and I decided to go for an afternoon paddle to avoid freezing our hands again this weekend. So, we met at the Bromley Bridge at 1:00 PM, where the water was very low, but navigable and rising. The temperature was 50 degrees and the wind was still hanging around and even affected us on the protected creek.

Roland was determined to turn around his finish outcome today, and started out fast to our five mile turnaround. Once we got past the first mile, where the creek opens up a little, the wind started to play havoc with both of us, as I continued to follow closely behind. Finally, when we got into mile four and five, I was able to pull even and on the long straightaway down to Buzbee's, was even able to pull ahead for just a little while. Once under the Hwy 225 bridge, with only about 500 meters to the turnaround, Roland pulled even again, and we made the turn together.

Our mile splits on the way down were 9:42, 9:11, 9:19, 9:33 and 9:33 again. On the way back upstream, we were basically heading into the wind in the first two miles, trying to find anyplace we could, to get out of it. Our splits on the return were 9:53, 9:55, 10:16, 10:02 and 10:33.

Once we hit two miles to go, Roland found another gear and started to pull away from me and ended up finishing about 30 meters ahead. The overall time of 1:38:03 at 6.1 mph, was not great, especially compared to last week's 12 mile paddle on the same course. But, taking the wind factor into consideration, we were both happy with the effort and are ready for next weekend's race.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Apalachee River to Tensaw River 2006 III

Thursday, January 12, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

The conditions improved somewhat from Tuesday, as the temperature was 65 degrees with very low wind and a more slowly rising tide at 4:30 PM. The skies were partly cloudy, so we still had some light as we started out with the setting sun. Roland was there also to give me a little extra inspiration as well.

We started off at a spirited pace into the current and past the Oyster House, started to fill up for happy hour. The water was very flat, so we were able to make the turn at the Apalachee River in 8:45 and back to the parking lot in 6:15. Roland was a little off his game tonight, maybe still affected by the cold 36 degree workout last Saturday. He was not able to stay even as we passed along the Causeway and went for the turnaround of the new six mile course at the Tensaw River. My mile splits were 8:03, 9:09 and 10:45 as we paddled with the current to heading into it in the last mile. Roland came in about a minute later, where we took a quick drink, turned and hit it hard on the return.

On the return, my mile splits were 8:44 and then 10:21 after we passed the Causeway culverts. I hit the finish line in 58:19, while Roland came in about 0:45 later. The conditions were good for a 1:05 improvement over Tuesday's paddle.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Apalachee River to Tensaw River 2006 II

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

The skies were very dark and threatening imminent thunderstorms when I pulled into the old Riverdocs parking lot this afternoon. At 4:30 PM, the temperature was 67 degrees and there was a slight southeasterly breeze. The water level was up and still rising rapidly as I pulled out into Pass Picada. I made slow headway eastward into the current at only 4.9 mph and made the Apalachee turn in a slow 9:31. I forgot to click my watch on the return as I passed the parking lot, but at 7.8 mph, it was probably around 5:45 for the same distance.

I kept up a good pace of 6.7 mph along the Causeway and even through the confused water and on along lower Chacaloochee Bay. Once I reached the Interstate bridges, I was heading into the teeth of the rising current again and it slowed me down to 5.8 mph, as I made the Tensaw River turn in 36:31. The three miles straight from Apalachee to Tensaw took exactly 27:00.

The return was pretty much in the dark, so I had to watch carefully for the markers along the Causeway and follow the highway and restaurant lights off in the distance. The first mile took 9:28, but once I got into the reversed tide, it slowed me down to 5.4 mph to the finish. My overall time was 59:24 at 6.1 mph.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Boiling Creek - Upper

Sunday, January 8, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Following a short cold snap Friday night, we are back to warm sunny days once again. For less than an hours drive from Spanish Fort, Boiling Creek is just a great little hideaway to sneak off to. It is a swift, narrow, crystal-clear, white sand bottom creek, deep in the middle of a cypress and pine forest. It is full of pitcher plants and plenty of other flowering water foliage, waterfowl and other critters on the Eglin AFB firing range.

With an Eglin recreation permit in hand, head out on I-10 to exit 31 in the Milton, Florida area and turn south on Hwy 87 to the Yellow River bridge. I met seven other lucky souls, and we drove the last few miles on dirt roads to the put-in, near a low one-lane wooden bridge. The temperature at 11:00 AM was about 66 degrees, with partly cloudy skies and a southerly breeze, which did not affect us deep in the woods.

We started out heading upstream against about a 2 mph current through twists and turns, deep pools and flowing underwater grasses. A great blue heron led us upstream to the split where Little Boiling Creek joins. Several of us took the right fork up Little for about 400 meters until we came across the first small fall. We returned and met the rest of the group and continued up the main channel for another mile to the landing on the left. This turned out to be the border to the red zone, so we decided to stop for lunch. There had been a burn about a year ago and the underbrush was coming back strong, but there were still alot of blackened trees and branches you didn't want to touch.

While on the way up, we noticed a burn was going on with a large smoke cloud and odor coming out of the southwest. As we sat around eating lunch, the cloud began to cross the sun, creating an eerie sunset and then darkness. Once we started back, the wind changed directions slightly and the smoke no longer blocked out the sun. We saw evidence of several beaver, who were helping keep the stream clear and had not begun any dam or house work, at least along the route we took.

The return trip only took us about 45 minutes with the nice current downstream. It is definately worth the trip to paddle the upper section, as it is quite a bit different from the stream on down to the Yellow River. I would like to combine both sometime and make a full day viewing one of the nicest, cleanest inland streams along the Gulf Coast.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Bay Minette Creek 12 mi.

Saturday, January 7, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

A cold front came through last night dropping the temperature below freezing. By 9:00 AM, the temperature rose to 36 degrees under clear sunny skies and only an occasional slight breeze out of the southwest. Roland and I met and put in at the Bromley bridge and started out strongly downstream. It didn't take long before the cold started to affect us; Roland more than I. Roland lost most feeling in his fingers and had difficulty gripping his paddle. But, we continued and as the temperature rose a little, I became more comfortable and pulled ahead.

We were alone on the perfectly still water for most of the paddle, except for a lone great blue heron, who led us around the twists and turns for about a mile in both directions. My mile splits on the way out were 9:52, 9:27, 9:21, 9:36, 9:53 and 10:20. The end of the last mile slowed down as we passed under the Hwy 225 bridge and got out into some shallow water in the basin. Roland was about a minute behind and was still having problems with the cold.

We turned and started back together, at least for a little while, when I decided to take off. My return splits were 9:42, 9:13, 9:19, 9:33, 9:45 and 9:52 for a total of 1:55:59 at 6.2 mph. The whole paddle felt very good to me, as I am just about ready for the Wakulla race in two weeks.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Bay Minette Creek 6 mi.

Thursday, January 5, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

For the first time in a couple of weeks, Roland and I were able to hook up for a workout. It was fairly windy out on the bay, so we put in on the sheltered upper end of Bay Minette. We put in at 4:20 PM as the sun was getting ready to set with a still warm 66 degrees and no effects from the breeze. Roland had not paddled for two weeks and wasn't expecting much, but when we hit the water, he pushed it out fast and I did all I could to try and keep up.

Our splits on the way out were 9:20, 9:10 and 9:17. In the last mile, I finally pulled even and slightly ahead, making the turn about 15 seconds in front. On the return, as daylight started to fade, Roland really put it into high gear and maintained about a 5-15 second lead on me the whole way back. The weather really cooperated giving us ideal conditions for a really fast paddle. Our return splits were 9:21, 9:28 and 9:48 for a total time of 56:28 at 6.4 mph. This matched my 12/22/05 PR for the course.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Fairhope Beach - Mobile Bay

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

It was such a beautiful day, we took Brad & Misha for lunch to the Fairhope Municipal Pier and the beach just to the north. We brought both kayaks along so I could do a workout and Brad could paddle around by the pier. At 11:45 AM, it was already 65 degrees, mostly sunny and about a 10 mph southwesterly breeze.

I started out heading north along the shoreline, but had to move out about 200 meters to get into a little deeper water. The tide was still falling just a bit, which created about a one foot chop. On the way up, I used it to ride my way along the rear quartering waves. The first mile mark came as I passed the Fairhope Yacht Club in 10:02. The second mile was out from the big red bluff adding another 9:46. The third mile to my turnaround point was about a half mile before the first big point, which I did in 9:42.

There was no boat traffic to speak of, but I did come across a group of about 15 cormorant who were busily fishing and didn't seem to even notice me. On the return, it was a little tougher go as I turned in mile splits of 10:34, 10:25 and 10:52 for a total six mile trip of 1:01:27 at 5.9 mph. It was good to get in some varied water conditions, so as not just paddle perfectly calm water all of the time.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Bay Minette Creek

Tuesday, January 3, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Brad and Misha came in for a few days of extended holiday vacation, so we took advantage of the great weather and headed for the water. By the time we got everyone organized and loaded up, we arrived at the upper end of Bay Minette at the Bromley Bridge and put in at 2:45 PM. The temperature was a very nice 67 degrees under sunny skies and no wind.

Brad paddled the plastic Perception Eclipse, while Misha, Linda and I took the Mohawk canoe. Although at a fairly leisurely pace, we didn't stop, so made pretty good time as we would our way downstream for about two miles. The water level was at low tide, but we had no trouble paddling and actually found a small tributary at about the two-mile mark I had not noticed before. We took it in about 300-400 meters before having to back up a little before finding a wide enough spot to turn around and come back out.

We saw osprey, great blue heron, snowy egret, kingfisher and wood duck along the way as well as a couple of stands of pitcher plants. Since I usually paddle this area at an all-out fast pace, I had noticed the pitchers before either. We will have to keep up with them as they bloom in the next couple of months. All in all, it was a very relaxing and fun paddle for everyone, as this was Brad and Misha's first paddle trip down Bay Minette Creek. We ended up going 4.25 mi. in about 1:20, and were off of the water by 4:30 PM, as the sun started to drop behind the bluffs. It was then off to Felix's Fish Camp for some great food and comaraderie.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Apalachee River to Tensaw River 2006 I

Monday, January 2, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

After last night's excitement in the fog, I wanted to get on and off the bay early to avoid more of the same today. At 7:20 AM, the temperature was a warm 70 degrees, with a 10-15 knot southwesterly wind under mostly cloudy skies. The water level was medium and dropping when I started out. Not only did I have the falling tide, but the wind was at my back, so I got right out in the middle of Pass Picada and kicked into high gear from the gitgo. A majestic snowy egret decided to move from one bank to the other, crossing right in front of me, while I picked up speed. My first split at the Apalachee was probably close to a PR, with the favorable conditions, as I clicked on 6:04 at 7.7 mph. Of course, the return was miserable at 9:32 and 4.9 mph.

While I passed the parking lot, it started to rain a little, but I had no plans to give in and stop. The rain quit, but the wind stayed steady and continued to harass me the rest of the way to the Tensaw River turnaround. To make matters worse, when I got between the Interstate bridges, where the falling tide was moving forward, the opposite wind kicked up a good chop, so I wasn't very efficient, only able to get up to 6.3 mph. The return was equally tough, where I was able to only make about a 5.6 mph headway. Once I got back to the Causeway, where the tide shifts directions, I was back to having the wind and tide to my back, so I could cruise back home at over 7 mph.

The final time of 1:01:00 (5.9 mph) was a little disappointing, but considering the conditions, I was reasonably satisfied with it. I am just glad to be able to get out on the water and enjoy the balmy weather during the end of this four-day New Years weekend.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Apalachee River to Causeway 2006 I

Sunday, January 1, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Well, after sleeping in to the middle of the morning and with low tide at noon, I decided to wait until late afternoon to go out for a paddle. Unfortunately, thunderstorms moved in and dumped a couple of inches of rain on the area around 4:00 PM (which we needed badly). I waited as long as I could before dark, and then went out to the Causeway to see what the conditions were. When I arrived at Riverdocs, the rain had stopped, but fog started to roll in while daylight started to fade.

I decided to go for it anyway, and started out at 4:40 PM. The temperature was a still warm 65 degrees, with a southeasterly breeze coming in. The water level was medium and rising as I turned down Pass Picada. My speed down to Apalachee was only 5.3 mph, but 7.3 mph on the return for a split of 15:10. I continued down to the Causeway culverts which were pushing alot of water through, leaving confusing swirls to paddle through. The fog started to get pretty dense, so I tried to stay along the shore, where I could see car lights and hear engine noise.

But, as I paddled over into Chacaloochee, I moved slightly away until I decided it was time to turn around, rather than continue on to the bridges. I stopped for a drink and thought I turned around, but the wind turned me around and I really started heading north and further away from my return course. I flipped my Forerunner to GPS mode and saw I was off course, so I turned around and headed into the wind and towards the road noise. Finally the shoreline popped into view and I followed it the rest of the way back. The paddle, with all of the twists and turns out in the middle of the bay, turned out to total 4.66 mi. and took 47:03.